The cultural conversational pattern of Ifemelu in Adichie’s Americanah

Racheal M. Dada
Keywords: Conversation, pattern, Ifemelu, Adichie, Americanah
Tropical Journal of Arts and Humanities 2022 4(2), 58-71. Published: December 30, 2022


Abstract

In any culture of conversation, especially the African culture, any specific act of speaking is a reflection of an individual‟s personality system that is profitable for a cordial, comprehensive and conducive communicative exchange by the speakers. Conversation can be established and sustained on the basis of certain principles; these tenets are conceptualised in Hymes‟ Ethnography of communication. This research attempts to investigate the conversational pattern of the protagonist (Ifemelu) in Adichie‟s Americanah, using the S.P.E.A.K.I.N.G. communication model by Dell Hymes‟ (1974) The researcher using stratified random sample collected ten (10) conversations of Ifemelu in the African novel from pages 74,88,116,121,20,205,179,438,443, and 502. These conversations are carefully in three dimensions which followed a pattern in their different spheres: when Ifemelu was in Nigeria, in America, and when she returned to Nigeria. The research shows the first sphere of Ifemelu‟s conversation as being naïve and uncertain of what she wanted out of life. The second sphere saw her as a focused and confident lady who is in control of her life. In the third sphere, she had grown into an institution. Her conversations were knitted with control, dominion, and satisfaction. The S.P.E.A.K.I.N.G. model which is an acronym for SETTING, PARTICIPANTS, END, ACT SEQUENCE, KEY, INSTRUMENT, NORMS and GENRES is highly dependent in analysing the conversations. The research shows conversationalists model and agree on their stances, values, norms, and belief system through language and bringing it all to the table of conversation.